10/22/2002 - Xilinx, the world's leading provider of programmable IC and programmable system solutions, announced a bold initiative to accelerate the industry move from parallel to high-speed serial I/O by delivering a new generation of connectivity solutions for system designs that meet bandwidth requirements from 3.125Gbps (gigabits-per-second) today to 10Gbps and beyond.
The catalyst for the Xilinx® initiative - dubbed "Serial Tsunami"- is the broad industry trend toward serial connectivity, which is being driven by companies across a wide range of industries as a means to reduce system costs, simplify system design, and provide scalability to meet new bandwidth requirements. Serial solutions will ultimately be deployed in nearly every aspect of every electronic product imaginable, from chip-to-chip interfacing, backplane connectivity and system boards to box-to-box communications.
By mid-2003, Xilinx will have significantly expanded its suite of serial connectivity solutions, culminating in new silicon, intellectual property (IP) cores, design software and methodologies, reference designs, solution boards, and extensive characterization data to enable system designers to build next-generation products that take full advantage of high-bandwidth connectivity - while adhering to current parallel I/O standards.
Today, 3.125 transceivers are an integral part of the company's flagship Virtex-II Pro platform FPGA fabric. Used in multiples, these transceivers support effective bandwidths through the FPGA up to 10Gbps and above. In the future, the company will deliver 10Gbps serial transceivers, which used in multiples, will support effective bandwidths through the FPGA of more than 40Gbps.
Xilinx: making Serial Tsunami vision a reality today
Already, Xilinx has made significant inroads in delivering connectivity solutions as part of its Serial Tsunami initiative, including:
CMOS mixed-signal transceiver technology, an essential element for Serial Tsunami success
A cornerstone of the Serial Tsunami initiative was put in place with the acquisition of RocketChips, Inc. nearly 24 months ago. This brought R&D expertise into the company that's absolutely essential for the successful deployment of serial connectivity solutions: ultra-high-speed CMOS mixed-signal transceiver technology. Today, a dedicated team within the Communication Technology Division (CTD) is wholly focused on R&D projects aimed at making the Serial Tsunami vision a reality.
"The underlying RocketIO technology that's making it possible for Xilinx to support multi-gigabit systems is truly 'rocket science' - not something you'd want to simply license from an external IP provider," said Wim Roelandts, president and CEO of Xilinx. "Having the internal expertise is a critical element of our strategy to make serial a mainstream technology by providing designers with a comprehensive, scalable and cost-effective solution.
"As the only FPGA vendor shipping platform devices with programmable 3.125 Gbps transceivers and IP cores for key serial interface standards, it's evident that our approach is paying off," added Roelandts. "Watch for many more exciting developments in the coming months as we continue to extend our market lead in serial connectivity."
Accelerating broad industry move from parallel to serial
Analysts agree that the serial I/O "wave" is inevitable, since parallel I/O schemes reach physical limitations at speeds greater than 1Gbps, no longer providing a reliable and cost-effective means for keeping signals synchronized. Serial I/O-based designs bring many advantages over traditional parallel implementations, including: fewer device pins, reduced board space requirements, fewer printed circuit board (PCB) layers, easier layout of the PCB, smaller connectors, lower EMI, and better noise immunity.
Through the Serial Tsunami initiative, Xilinx is providing solutions for a wide range of serial system architectures in the networking, telecommunications, and enterprise storage markets, served by the Xilinx Platform FPGAs. Solutions comprise serial backplane transceivers (Single and Quad 3.125 Gbps Transceivers), telecom transceivers (SONET OC-48 and OC-192), enterprise storage transceivers (Fibre Channel, Ethernet), and networking transceivers (Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gb Ethernet, and InfiniBand), which are expected to reach a total of over 1.7 billion USD in 2005, according to the 2002 Switching & Routing and Optical Transport Semiconductors report from RHK, and the 2002 Advanced Bus and Interface Markets and Trends report from Electronic Trend Publications.
"Through its leading technology and well established strategic partnerships, Xilinx is poised to lead the industry in the transition to serial interfaces," said Steve Berry, principal analyst for Electronic Trend Publications. "System architects will experience dramatic improvements in bandwidth, pin-count, power, and signal integrity."
"The Xilinx initiative validates our roadmap of single mode pluggable optics with serial interfaces," added Michael Lebby, CEO of Ignis Optics, a leading supplier of optical transceiver solutions based in San Jose, Calif. "Our recent demonstration transporting OC-48 SONET traffic over optical fiber with the Virtex-II Pro FPGA at NFOEC (National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference), highlights the versatility and flexibility of Xilinx's Platform FPGA solutions coupled with our scalable I/O-PKGTM-based modules. We see 10 Gbps serial as the wave of the future and Ignis is addressing it with the pluggable XFP optical transceiver."
In addition to being an active participant in key industry bodies driving serial technology standards, Xilinx is leveraging its extensive network of "ecosystem" partners (EDA, reference design, IP, etc.) to guarantee interoperability and access to the latest technology and design tools.
Virtex®-II Series FPGAs - the ultimate connectivity platform
Although it's widely accepted that high-speed serial I/O schemes deliver significant benefits over traditional parallel I/O methods, until now, designers have been challenged by a lack of flexible, cost-effective, general-purpose serial I/O silicon support, unclear winners in a complex array of emerging connectivity standards, and no clear path for moving from parallel to serial while maintaining support for legacy systems.
Xilinx platform FPGAs provide the ultimate in bridging capabilities for companies moving from parallel to serial connectivity, due to a combination of performance, intellectual property cores, functionality and programmability. Thanks to its programmability and support of multiple parallel and serial standards, Xilinx ICs are unique in their ability to immediately adapt to meet emerging standards specifications.
Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) is the worldwide leader of programmable logic and programmable system solutions.
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